South Los Angeles Psychology Doctoral Internship

The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) South Los Angeles Psychology Doctoral Internship Program is pleased to announce that applications are currently being accepted for two full-time, one-year positions for the 2024-2025 internship year.  We offer generalist training in public sector mental health through two required rotations: (1) Child and Adolescent Mental Health, (2) Adult Outpatient Psychological Testing.  Our current salary is $45,044.16 plus benefits.

The South Los Angeles Doctoral Psychology Internship Program is currently accepting applications on a rolling basis until the positions are filled by qualified applicants who meet all doctoral training program and LACDMH hiring requirements.

Philosophy and Goals of the Training Program 

The LACDMH South Los Angeles Psychology Doctoral Internship Program is dedicated to the training and professional development of future clinical psychologists interested in working in community mental health with diverse lifespan populations.  There are two overarching goals of our program:

  1. To provide clinical training that affords each psychology intern experiential learning opportunities to develop the practice of psychology in an underserved community and as members of a multidisciplinary team.
  2. To maximize opportunities for psychology interns to develop collaborative professional relationships, enhance personal and professional growth, and further socialize into the profession.

The life-span training experiences include initial assessment, crisis intervention, treatment planning, psychotherapy (field-based and office), psychological testing, case management and collaboration with other Los Angeles County agencies and community outreach services.   Interns train with a multidisciplinary team (MDT) consisting of, but not limited to psychiatrists, social workers, case managers, nurses, recreation/occupational therapists, substance use counselors, and other disciplines.  Interns participate in case conferences with the MDT and have opportunities to provide field work in the company of other members of the MDT, depending on the specific needs of the client. Furthermore, interns are expected to develop competence in the provision of culturally diverse and inclusive mental health treatment.  The LACDMH South Los Angeles Psychology Doctoral Internship Program prides itself on promoting a diverse and inclusive training environment, including but not limited to, age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, language, national origin, race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.

The internship training program is guided by the Scholar Practitioner Model (Vail model) which emphasizes a commitment to the clinical practice and profession of psychology in the context of empiricism, by modeling and teaching the critical consumption of current research, as well as by researching interventions and measuring outcomes to guide more effective client care.  Doctoral interns will incorporate experiential learning, fostering a deeper understanding of children and adults who present with a wide range of behavioral and emotional challenges along with various levels of functioning, within a public entity, targeting high need, underserved populations.

Guided by theory and research, interns learn to tailor treatments to the unique needs of individuals and families as they conceptualize their work in relation to broader organizational, community, and cultural contexts.

The model of training used to achieve the above objectives is based on the following principles:

  • The internship has a strong didactic component and offers a wide variety of seminars and system wide trainings which integrate theory and empirical research, along with clinical practice.
  • Interns become a part of the professional community that values their work, fosters clinical and scholarly skills, and enhances personal and professional development.
  • Interns learn to work collaboratively and cooperatively with each other, engaging in joint therapeutic activities and interventions, mutual support, and peer feedback.
  • Interns’ caseloads are designed to maximize learning, focusing on quality of care, rather than quantity.


Description of Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health

The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH), with a budget of approaching $3 billion, is the largest county-operated mental health department in the United States. LACDMH directly operates more than 85 sites and provides services through contract programs and LACDMH staff at approximately 300 sites co-located with other County departments, schools, courts, and various organizations.  Each year, the County contracts with close to 1,000 organizations and individual practitioners to provide a variety of mental health-related services. On average, more than 250,000 Los Angeles County residents of all ages are served every year.

Description of Training Programs Sites

The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) South Los Angeles Doctoral Psychology Internship Program is dedicated to training and assisting in the professional development of doctoral psychology interns.  The program is committed to reducing disparity in mental health care and takes pride in serving traditionally underserved populations in the community of South Los Angeles.

The LACDMH South Los Angeles Doctoral Psychology Internship Program is dedicated to providing quality training in a welcoming, supportive, and encouraging learning environment to the intern through a planned, programmed sequence of training experiences.  Core training is comprised of experiential learning in the form of direct, face-to-face service provision, individual and group supervision, and didactic seminars. Each week, interns will spend approximately 35% of their time in experiential learning/direct client care, a minimum of 10% in direct supervision (including 2 hours of face-to-face supervision), 10% in didactic activities (e.g., case conferences, seminars, in-service and system-wide trainings), and the balance in administrative activities (e.g., staff meetings, clinical documentation). Psychology interns are required to attend all of the activities outlined above unless otherwise approved by the primary supervisor and training director.

The LACDMH South Los Angeles Psychology Doctoral Internship offers training in public sector mental health across the lifespan through two required rotations: (1) Child and Adolescent Mental Health at Specialized Foster Care, Service Area 6, offered in the setting of The Jacqueline Avant Children and Family Center on the Martin Luther King Medical Campus, and (2) Adult Outpatient Psychological Testing at the Hawkins-DMH Adult Outpatient Program (formerly known as the Augustus Francis Hawkins Mental Health Center (AFHMHC)) offered in the setting of Martin Luther King’s Behavioral Health Center.

Specialized Foster Care

Jacquline Avant Children and Family Center exterior

Located in in the setting of The Jacqueline Avant Children and Family Center on the Martin Luther King Medical Campus, Specialized Foster Care Service Area 6, provides services under a coordinated and collaborative relationship between DMH and the LAC Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) as well as Martin Luther King Medical HUB to address the specialized mental health needs of children under the supervision of DCFS, whether living at home with parents/guardians or in a foster care placement.  Psychology interns engage in comprehensive clinical training that is multidisciplinary and introduces interns to the specific and unique needs of children and families engaged with the child welfare system.  Specialized Foster Care utilizes a combination of didactic trainings, experiential learning, and supervision as structural tools to build and develop clinical and professional competency.  Interns receive clinical training in the following areas: Evidence-Based Practices (Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Parent Child Interaction Therapy); intake, assessment, and triage; psychological testing and assessment; short-term therapy; crisis evaluation and intervention; case consultation; advocacy; and participation in DCFS engagement meetings (e.g., Family Team meetings).

Interns complete mental health screenings; comprehensive psychosocial and developmental assessments; and intensive in-home and evidence-based treatment approaches shown to be effective in treating the unique needs of the foster care population.  Clinical services are delivered primarily in the field.  Interns consult with the Specialized Foster Care multidisciplinary team that consists of social workers, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, lawyers, medical caseworkers, marriage and family therapists, substance abuse counselors, and community workers to ensure children’s mental health needs are met.  Interns also receive specialized training to ensure strength-based intake assessments are completed.

Augustus Francis Hawkins Mental Health Center (AFHMHC)

Augustus Hawkins MHC exterior

Located in the setting of Martin Luther King’s Behavioral Health Center, the Hawkins-DMH Outpatient Program provides interns clinical training focused on the development of psychological skills in working with seriously mentally ill and culturally diverse adult clients.  Interns learn how psychological assessment augments the diagnostic and treatment interventions of mental health professionals, as well as how trauma focused recovery and evidence-based group psychotherapeutic approaches can be applied to the treatment of seriously mentally disordered and culturally diverse clients.  Interns will rotate through the Hawkins-DMH Outpatient Clinic in the Triage/Walk-In area, where they will learn and develop rapid screening, intake, diagnostic, and disposition skills under supervision of licensed psychologists.

Hawkins-DMH Outpatient Clinic emphasizes the impact of cultural and socioeconomic influences on diagnosis and treatment and strives to accomplish interns’ training goals by equipping them with the requisite knowledge and skills to work effectively in a community setting.  Specifically, the clinical psychology staff at Hawkins-DMH provide training in clinical interventions that are evidence-based and embedded within the milieu of the Hawkins-DMH trauma-informed recovery model, focusing on aiding each psychology intern’s continued professional development towards eventual independent practice.

Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Diversity Mission Statement

The South Los Angeles Psychology Doctoral Internship Program is committed to recruiting motivated and diverse doctoral interns and to providing access and a clear path in making the transition from student to independent practice.

Required Qualification

Applicants must have completed all the following formal requirements toward the Ph.D. or Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology, including:

  • Provide proof of enrollment in an APA-accredited doctoral program in Clinical Psychology
  • Copy of unofficial transcript from APA-accredited doctoral program
  • The applicant must be in good standing in an American Psychology Association (APA) accredited Clinical Psychology doctoral program.
  • All doctoral program requirements necessary for the title of predoctoral intern must be completed by the first Monday in August of the internship year
  • Complete Verification of Internship Eligibility Form
  • Successfully completed practicum or half-time internship (i.e., minimal of 500 cumulative supervised hours in direct clinical service and at least 400 direct therapy hours: with no less than 300 accrued in the doctoral program, no later than selection interview date)
  • Please provide proof of verified practicum hours (i.e., Supervisory Experience Logs and/or Time2Track)
  • Acceptance of dissertation proposal by dissertation committee no later than the date of the internship position.
    • Please note we will not accept any post-doctoral candidates.
  • Possess a valid California Driver License


Preferred Qualifications for Candidates

The South Los Angeles Doctoral Psychology Internship Program seeks individuals who work collaboratively in and contribute to multidisciplinary groups, have strong communication skills, are well organized and are open and motivated to learning. The internship program values self-reflection as a tool for professional development. Bilingual candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

Application Procedures

  1. Interested candidates must submit the following documents by email to Training Director, Dr. Irma (Vanessa) Vazquez-Perez at
  2. Please put the following in the subject line:  Psychology Internship Application – Applicant’s Last Name.   We do not accept any paper materials.
    • Cover letter
    • Current Curriculum Vitae
    • Unofficial graduate transcript(s)
    • Verification of Internship Eligibility Form
  3. The following documents are also required and are to be emailed by your listed references directly to Training Director, Dr. Irma (Vanessa) Vazquez-Perez, at

Please have those submitting documents and letters on your behalf put Psychology Internship Application – Applicant’s Last Name in the subject line.

  • APA-accredited doctoral program’s Verification of Internship Eligibility and Readiness.
  • Three letters of references with at least two from clinical supervisors who can speak directly about the quality of your clinical work and your engagement in clinical supervision.

The South Los Angeles Doctoral Psychology Internship Program accepts applications on a rolling basis until the positions are filled by qualified applicants.

Personnel affiliated with the South Los Angeles Doctoral Psychology Internship Program will not solicit, accept, or use any application information from any intern applicant.

Interviews and offers are on a rolling basis.  To formally apply to the South Los Angeles Psychology Internship, you are required to use our online application (link below).  Please be prepared to respond to questions related to clinical experience, clinical orientation, testing experience, etc.

Please note: If selected for the Internship Program, LACDMH will require a separate employment application and hiring procedure, including background check by the Department of Justice (DoJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Clearance by the DoJ and FBI, as well as certain health mandates, residency/citizenship status, and State waiver issuance are among the conditions of employment that will need to be met for employment in LACDMH. Failure to meet any of these employment requirements will prohibit participation in the Internship Program

The South Los Angeles Doctoral Psychology Internship Program application

South Los Angeles Psychology Doctoral Internship Application QR Code

Contact Information

Any questions regarding the internship or application procedures should be directed to:
Irma (Vanessa) Vazquez-Perez, Psy.D. Supervising Clinical Psychologist/Training Director